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More than two years after informing Nigerians that he is going to combine the post of Minister of Petroleum Resources and President of the country for only 18 months, the presidency has remained silent on why President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to announce a substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources.
Some industry analysts traced the recent brouhaha that engulfed the ministry recently to the failure in keeping the promise to appoint a full Minister and remain the President and Commander in Chief after 18 months in office.
It would be recalled that recently, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu petitioned the President over instances of official insubordination mated to him by the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru.
In an interview, the former Minister of Petroleum and industry analyst, Prof Tam David-West said “People have forgotten what he said when he resumed as president. He said that he would hold that position for 18 months, during which he intended to straighten things up in the place”. According to him, “Actually, Buhari should be the chairman of the NNPC board and not Kachikwu, who is a minister without a portfolio in reality,” stressing that “It would be better if we scrapped the ‘minister of state’ which is superfluous and redundant”.
On the need for President Buhari to step down as substantive Minister in order to end the entire crisis since 18 months had long elapsed, Prof David-West averred that “He will decide when to take that decision but that title of minister of state should be scrapped or called ‘minister without portfolio.”
On if Kachukwu’s petition means official sidelining, the Emeritus professor of Virology said “If he is complaining about being sidelined, maybe there is a clash between what he expected and what he has found. There is a fundamental problem there. But are his expectations valid? There are a lot of misconceptions and lies”.
“Another important thing is that you cannot be oil minister or the GMD and be an oil merchant. The two individuals should search themselves. Is there a conflict of interest in their activities? Baru said that Kachikwu recommended eight companies to lift oil but Kachikwu said it was a lie. The President must set up a panel to investigate this. In my time, I was offered things by oil companies that I rejected. King Ado Ibrahim in the Ebira land can bear me witness,” Prof David-West revealed.
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